Genre: Games that are 2Bad 2Like 2Much
Appeal: Extreme sportsmen and posers
Ha ha ha, seems Sony couldn't hold onto the ESPN
license for this sequel. But that's alright, because it's still a
really lacking game. Sure, beating up people at insane speeds is
fun (and you get to do it in four different sports), but Road Rash is better.
And here's a funny tidbit: The original ESPN Extreme Games was repackaged
as "1Extreme" at one point!
Battle Arena Toshinden
Genre: Eye Candy City
Appeal: The poor souls who have no hands with
which to play this
BAT may look pretty (or at least it did in 1995),
but the gameplay?... Average. Woefully average. A case
of outer beauty over inner beauty. However, since most people go
for outer beauty, I'll have to recommend this!
Battle Arena Toshinden 2
Genre: Games of the "Who needs it?" variety
Appeal: Those of us who didn't realize the total
lack of great gameplay in the original
Okay, so the first Toshinden was cool because
of its nice graphics and not because of its gameplay. It was a showcase
of the PSX's power. Why would anyone want another "game" just like
it? The answer evades me, but apparently, enough people bought it
to warrant more bad sequels. Toshinden URA... What were they
Genre: Weapon-based fighting... realistic weapon-based
Appeal: Fighters who were horribly crippled in
battle and have nothing to do but play games
If you played this game expecting another Soul
Blade, then chances are you cried when the computer finished you off in
one hit. I know I did. Actually, that's a lie. Anyways,
Bushido Blade is cool because of its psycho-realism. Too bad the
single-player mode is so weak. At least Soul Blade had that neat
C: The Contra Adventure
Genre: Better 32-bit Contra
Appeal: Gun nuts and a few others, like myself!
I don't see why the critics bashed this second
PSX Contra game so much. It's not that bad, really! Honest!
It may have a few balance problems, but the 3D scenes are just like you'd
expect a 3D Contra to be. Oh yeah, and don't pay more than $20, because
this is short. I only paid $5, actually. I rented it.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Genre: Exploration of Dracula's huge (and slightly
Appeal: Richter Belmont, because he gets to kill
Dracula in the FIRST SCENE
It's Castlevania meets Metroid in this father-son
vampire battle to the finish. The winner gets a lifetime supply of
human blood, while the loser gets dead. Many consider this to be
the greatest Castlevania of them all! With that information in mind,
go out and buy it, because it's bargain-priced. Kudos to Konami!
Contra: Legacy of War
Genre: Franchise cash-in! Booo!
Appeal: Contra fans with little sense left in
I knew something was wrong when I first saw the
previews for this awful game. A tiny character, muddy graphics, and
above all, mediocre first impressions from journalists. Since I'm
such a Contra fan, I rented this despite its lousy reviews. Blegh.
The top-down view just doesn't work that well here. Not nearly as
cool as it should be.
Genre: Snowboarding, I think
Appeal: I don't know, I just don't know!
Yeah, I've played this game, but I just don't
know how to rate it! See, I don't normally play sports games or serious
racing games at all, so I have no idea if this is any good or not.
On the other hand, I doubt that anyone actually CARES, so I'll just keep
my mouth shut. (By the way, the professional critics liked this one.)
Genre: Mascot monkey business
Appeal: Many hip dudes, except for a jealous
Sonic the Hedgehog
Yep, Crash was supposed to be the official Playstation
mascot, and so far, he's been doing his job pretty well. The game
plays like a side-scroller, only it's in 3D. 'Nuff said. Though
it's a bit frustrating, I'm sure many of youse kids would gladly try to
find all of the secret stuff, even if it means playing 'till your brains
ooze out your eyes.
Crash Bandicoot 2
Genre: Bandicoot hipness
Appeal: Apparently, enough people to warrant
Crash 2 is a bit better than the first one.
5% better, to be exact. Maybe it's just me, but I think they may
have easied the game up a bit. More secrets to look for as well.
Just one thing: If Crash's little sister can talk, WHY CAN'T HE???
It's a question I've been pondering since I first played the game, and
I don't think my pondering will cease anytime soon. What's wrong
Genre: Star Wars Merchandise (tm)
Appeal: The few people who have come to love
Mr. Lucas's series
Despite every Star Wars film bombing at the box
office and every Star Wars game selling under 50,000 units (at least to
my knowledge), LucasArts decided to do this PC to PSX port. The Playstation
was more than capable of handling DF, but instead, the designers left us
with a choppy, bad-lookin' game. It's still kinda fun, just MORE
fun on the PC.
Genre: Dark, dank, bloody, and 3D, this game
Appeal: Anyone who remembers the medieval ages
Start with Tomb Raider, take away the cool graphics
and frame rate, muffle the sound, add a whole lot of hacking and slashing,
and you've pretty much got Deathtrap Dungeon. There's a lot of emphasis
on combat, which would have been fine, had the combat been better.
I don't usually complain about games being too long, but this was terribly
long! Worth the $15 I paid, though.
Die Hard Trilogy
Appeal: Bruce Willis, whose voice is used for
DHT's intelligent in-game samples
It may not be the smartest game in the world,
but once you get the hang of it, prepare to have fun! The three different
games include a third-person action game, a first-person shooting game,
and a really bloody driving game. Tons of fun no matter how many
times you play it, plus you get to see pigeons (and humans) being blown
Duke Nukem 3D
Genre: PC Ports that are lousy. Blunt,
Appeal: The same people who liked the Dark Forces
A moron I once knew had this game. He was
one of those weirdniks who thought that console games were always better
than their PC counterparts. What he didn't realize was that this
was a bad conversion of a really good game! Bad graphics, lousy frame
rates, a gamepad... As I remember, he said "Duh, dis better den stupid
compuder Dukem Nukem! Compuders bad! Playstation good!"
Genre: A new type of R-Type
Appeal: Square fans who actually have other interests
It's not every day that you come across a cool
new space shooter. Never mind cool and new, it's hard to find space
shooters period these days! On the other hand, this cool game almost
makes up for Xevious 3D/G. It's fast, it's 3D, and it's got explosions!
Excalibur 2555 AD
Genre: Tomb Raider with a midget of some sort
who is unable to jump
Appeal: Midgets who need a role model
Well, okay, Beth is not really a midget, but
she is very short, and she can't jump. All she can do is go on fool's
errands for a bunch of creepy underground dwellers. Methinks this
game was one of the reasons SirTech's publishing division is no more.
If only more thought had gone into this one...
Genre: Fighting Farce
Appeal: Beady-eyed children bent on killing.
The plan: Final Fight in 3D with more background
interaction. The result: A real snorefest. While having two
players definitely helps, it seems that the game designers' plan was to
send wave after wave after wave of the same guys after you, level after
level. It was like that in Final Fight, but at least the actual fighting
wasn't so dull. Die Hard Arcade is much shorter, but much better!
Final Fantasy VII
Genre: Stop reading this and go buy it
Appeal: No, really
This is the first game to receive a rating with
three digits. Before playing, I didn't even know if I liked RPGs
much. After playing, I found my answer. Great graphics, great
story, great music, great battles, great, great, great. Why, it's
terribly great! Despite its large size, I've played it through 2
1/2 times. Really great game.
Final Fantasy VIII
Genre: Oy, utterly disappointing games
Appeal: Apparently, many gamers who aren't me
A lot of RPG fans have hailed this as being better
than FFVII. What the hell are they thinking?! The great graphics
are back, but everything else is worse. I'd have to say that the
battles, for at least the first two discs, are some of the most dull I've
ever seen in any game! Maybe I just wasn't playing the "right way",
but it seemed that GF attacks were by far more powerful (and boring) than
Genre: Hopping. And hopping. And
Appeal: Our amphibian friends who finally get
a 3D update to their aging game
If you're older than me, then you may remember
playing Frogger in the arcades. It was a game about a frog who has
to cross the road. Imagine playing as that same stupid frog during
level after level after level, hopping across all sorts of typical game
environments. The charm is lost! Frogger should have never
been updated in the first place! Go broil its legs!
Heart of Darkness
Genre: Out of this World with higher production
Appeal: Fans of Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Antz...
Ack! This took more than four years to
design! The graphics are purdy, but the gameplay is about on the
level of Out of this World (which was designed by the same guy).
While this isn't a completely bad thing, it's kinda obvious that this one
was way too long in the coming. Short, too. At least this was
popular in Europe...
Appeal: Danny DeVito, proud of hearing his voice
repeated over and over and over
This game was officially endorsed by Mike Eisner
and the Gang. The gameplay may seem a bit slow, but believe me when
I say a good time will be had by most. Especially the young 'uns.
I rented this with a "free rental" coupon (there was nothing else worth
renting, believe it or not), and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.
Genre: Flight games with as much realism as the
Appeal: Probably those crazy kids who bought
all the rest of the ID4 merchandise
Saving the world was never this much of a pain.
Okay, so you fly (unrealistically) around shooting up the alien mothership,
and then celebrating by doing it all over again in the next level.
Yeah, it could get boring. On the plus side, Will Smith didn't lend
his voice to this game. Just imagine him shouting "Whoooo, wicky
wicky Wild Wild West!" every time she shoots an alien. Shudder...
Genre: Jetski / land vehicle racing
Appeal: Mountain Dew addicts and their younger
"I wanna be cool" Surge addict little brothers
I have to admit, it's a strange game. I
mean, jetski / land vehicle? Proposterous! I hope the designers
didn't want me to think that this game was realistic, because their attempt
was futile! It's not WaveRace, but it is good, so try it already.
Jet Moto 2
Genre: The Second Annual Jetski Motocross Championships
Appeal: The same Mountain Dew addicts who liked
the first one, but now they're older and wiser
The junkies may be wiser, but the game designers
weren't! Nicer graphics, but the tracks usually aren't quite up to
the coolness level of the original. I once met a guy who said he
lost his arm riding one of the contraptions from Jet Moto. Kind of
scary, since they don't exist. Maybe he was just on crack.
Jumping Flash 2
Genre: It's like... first-person, except it has
lots of jumping... Good enough!
Appeal: Mechanical wabbits
You've probably never seen a game quite like
Jumping Flash 2. Well, except for possibly Jumping Flash 1.
But other than that, it's completely original. JF2 can best be described
as a first-person platform game with high jumping, and boy, is it high.
Try it, you'll like it!
Kileak: The DNA Imperative
Genre: Robot shooters that are not good
Appeal: Any looney who buys it for $7 used
Kileak is further proof that there are no 1995
Playstation games worth playing today (except for maybe Jumping Flash).
You're a robot and you shoot other robots, mostly in long, narrow corridors.
Oh, gee, sounds like a lot of fun, huh?
The King of Fighters '95
Genre: 2D fighting. I'll leave it at that...
Appeal: Those crazy derelicts at the arcade who
live for this stuff (no, not the cast of The Wizard)
Leave it to SNK to release a game with "95" at
the end of the title in late 1996. What's even more unfortunate is
that this could have been done in 1992. Sure, it plays well, but
there are times when good gameplay just doesn't guarantee tons of fun.
If only SNK would do a US port of Metal Slug...
Lode Runner: The Legend Returns
Genre: Dumping your lodes
Appeal: You know something?... I've got
This is a 1998 Playstation release of a 1994
Windows game based on a 1983 Apple IIe game. The Apple IIe version
was lodes of fun, the Windows version was just plain dull, and this version...
ANCIENT. A graphical update and level editor don't make it any better.
Genre: Murder Death Kill? Max Doc Kurt?
Appeal: Gamers without computers (why are you
Unless you've got a 90 MHz machine, there's no
reason to buy the PSX version of this excellent game. Stealth and
cunning are needed to defeat your adversaries, so use them. Good
luck finding a new copy of this: Playmates Interactive Entertainment is
no more. I think it was PowerSlave and Meat Puppet that murdered
Metal Gear Solid
Genre: Tactical espionage something or other
Appeal: Spy wannabes and real spies who haven't
learned how to do their job yet
Wow, MGS lived up to the hype. It turned
out really... uhh... good! The crazy thing is that you actually have
to think before you run into a room and blast everyone's head into pieces.
There are consequences for that sort of thing, you know (and I'm not talking
about jail). Oh yeah, and there's also a storyline of some sort.
Mortal Kombat 3
Genre: Games that have gone on for far too long
Appeal: Anyone who felt that they needed a PSX
for a game that the SNES easily handled
When MK3 was released in the arcades, it seemed
like a pile of ancient dinosaur crap next to a Virtua Fighter 2 machine.
While it doesn't seem that great at first, the frantic action kind of grows
on you. It may not have been a shining example of the PSX's power,
the Saturn had it even worse: it had MKII from Acclaim!
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Genre: More Kombat
Appeal: You p-sychos who bought every other game
in the series
Hmm, nearly every character from every MK game...
That's a lot of color-swapping! I found it amusing to watch metal-arms
Jax fight with flesh-arms Jax. On the other hand the game structure
is pretty much the same as that of MK3, and thus, it wasn't worth the price
of a rental. Ho-hum.
Genre: 2 1/2-D stuff all the way!
Appeal: Li'l sorceresses and creepy, poorly-dressed
"Wait a minute... There's something funny
about this side-scroller... It has polygons!" These words were
uttered by the legions of dudes who played Pandemonium. They may
have been crazy for talking to themselves, but they weren't crazy to think
that there was something different about this game. It's just as
fun and frustrating as any side-scroller.
Parappa the Rapper
Genre: Rappin' dog tries to woo sunflower girl
Appeal: Well, my own dog didn't seem to like
the music very much
Now, here's a game with an original concept.
The music is really, really memorable, too! I rented this game back
in December of 1997, and the tunes are still in my head as of two years
later! Also, I'm pleased to say that this game includes no "gangster
rap". I wouldn't want to see Parappa get shot by former homie "Onion
Genre: More like Primitive Rage
Appeal: If the year was 1995, I'm sure even I
would have been interested
Well well, what do we have here? A long-forgotten-about
2D fighting game that was done well enough on the SNES and Genesis.
Punching those tiny humans was always kind of fun, which is more than I
can say for the actual fighting. I think there was once a planned
sequel to this. In a stroke of brilliance, someone canceled it.
Rebel Assault 2
Genre: Star Snores
Appeal: Star Wars fans, maybe? But you
knew that already!
Well, it's the same linear, FMV-laden, track-based
game that the first one was, only now the graphics have been slightly improved.
As you might be able to tell from looking at the game's genre, it's kind
of really dull. There are plenty of games around that I've given
higher scores, so why should anyone want to play this one?
Genre: Once-edgy but now just lame violent games
Appeal: Psycho killer clowns and meat-loving
I certainly hopes the original was better than
this. My friend and I rented this because it looked like a cool two-player
bloodfest. It only succeeded in the fact that it supported two players.
Unfortunately, this didn't make it a whole lot more fun. We played
for about 20 minutes before realizing that it was utter crap and kicking
ourselves for choosing it.
Genre: Alone in the Dark with 1996 production
Appeal: Those guys who played zombies in Night
of the Living Dead
Yeah, RE is a lot like Alone in the Dark.
On the other hand, it's also a lot better. Anyone who's played it
will tell you that this game makes you wet your pants out of pure fear.
Well, okay, maybe that's just me, but take my word for it: bring an extra
set of pants.
Resident Evil 2
Genre: Resident Evil with 1998 production values
Appeal: The surviving S.T.A.R.S. members from
the first game, because they weren't in this one
The zombies return, and so does the bad voice
work. I've heard that Claire, one of the main characters, is voiced
by the woman on The Big Comfy Couch. She is more convincing as a
clown on this PBS series than she is here. By the way, the first
RE is scarier than its sequel.
Genre: Soulbladian action in the days of chamber
Appeal: Aspiring knights. Or just people
who like fighting games
Soul Blade is one of the few fighting games I've
played that I found really addictive. Maybe it was because I usually
ended up playing against an actual human (I was at a summer camp).
Or maybe it's just that hitting people with swords is fun.
Genre: Explosion-bringing madness, in 32 bits!
Appeal: The Soviets, I suppose. Unless
they realize that they are the bad guys in this game...
Though I couldn't really get into this game as
much as some people could, I have to admit, it seemed pretty good.
That rhymed. You've got a lot of weapons at your disposal, so you
get to go crazy, but at times, it seemed that the baddies were just lazy.
I'll shut up, now.
Genre: Parappa the Rapper with the addition of
Appeal: Wannabe Spice Girls
This would have gotten a 0% if the Spice Girls
weren't so pretty. Actually, the "game" even ruined this by showing
them as cartoony midgets. You can make the girls dance to their "music"
by pressing a few buttons, which is fun until you realize that it's not.
By the way, I played this in a store. I did not buy or even rent
it. Please believe me!
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
Genre: Product tie-in central. Oh, goody
Appeal: Masters of Star Wars Fandom
I can imagine how the idea for this game originated.
George Lucas was taking a break from his "hard work" on the Phantom Menace
script, when he began simulating a fight between Han Solo and Chewbacca
with a couple of action figures. When his secretary walked in, Georgie
felt that he needed to justify his childish behavior, and thus, the idea
for MoTK was born.
Street Fighter Alpha
Genre: M. Bison-bashing
Appeal: The same nut cases who liked SFII, King
of Fighters, Darkstalkers, Fatal Fury...
I never should have had the opportunity to play
this game. See, I had ordered a used copy of Wild Arms from a mail
order company, and much to my dismay, I received... this. Bah!
I don't think I'll ever order anything from BRE Software again! I
wonder if they would have sent me Wild Arms if I had ordered SF Alpha...
Genre: Tek-nologically cool fighting
Appeal: Tek-nical guys who love them purdy graphics
It's pretty cool that a game as silky smooth
and nice looking as Tekken could have been released the same year as Mortal
Kombat 3. No one in their right mind would want to play this today
(unless they're really nostalgic for this sort of thing) thanks to more
recent Tekkens, but back in the day... Tekken was sweeet.
Genre: Wrastlin' on the flattest of flat landscapes
Appeal: Big guys in army uniforms made ENTIRELY
OF METAL! Play the game...
You know those "more recent Tekkens" I mentioned
in the above review? This is one of 'em! I'm sure there are
a lot of fans out there who would give this even higher marks, but I was
never completely "into" the whole fighting game phenomenon. Mainly
because they took valuable space at the arcades away from Sunset Riders
and TMNT! Thanks, Street Fighter.
Genre: 3D Sci-Fi Final Fight fun
Appeal: Fans of The Time Machine, as this game
lets them live out their dream...
As the Time Commando, you must go back (and forward)
through different time periods, meeting lots of interesting people.
Then you must beat the snot out of them with whatever weapons you might
find. Though it doesn't really control that well, what could be more
fun than clobbering a huge bear over the head with a primitive caveman
club? Well, it's fun until you get slaughtered...
Genre: Playstation's Greatest Hits
Appeal: Strangely enough, this game seems to
be shunned by women and loved by men...
The original TR is very possibly the best.
Lara Croft, the game's heroine (as if you didn't know), has become a victim
of the plague known as "overexposure". You know they've gone too
far when you see Ms. Croft promoting the "Lucozade" sports drink in Europe.
In a few years, she'll become a drunken pig like many former stars.
Trust me on this!
Tomb Raider II
Genre: Prince of Persia in 3D that's not Prince
of Persia 3D
Appeal: Tomb Raiding, only you don't visit tombs
It's kind of strange that this is called Tomb
Raider, since you end up visiting places like FRANCE. A little after
this game's release, I think that everyone was starting to get tired of
hearing about Lara Croft and her moron fanatic followers. I'm starting
to wish that someone would just put a huge scar right across her face...
Appeal: Certainly not the boxes
Right now, you must be thinking "Box-brutalizing?!
What the heck is that all about?! Who is this Madguy person, anyway?!
He's a real schmuck!" I can assure you that what I have said about
boxes makes perfect sense. You see, there are a great many boxes
in this game, and, well, you get to blow them up. In fact, a good
portion of the game is spent doing this.
Twisted Metal 2
Genre: Car-brutalizing! Yeeeaaaahhhh!
Appeal: The same kids who enjoy strapping firecrackers
to Hot Wheels cars
Though I didn't have much of a chance to play
the one-player game, it didn't seem like a whole load of greatness.
The split-screen two-player mode was sort of amusing, but only sort of.
It's basically deathmatch with added speed. I think this was
more popular that it should have been.
Genre: RPG with actual gameplay beyond exploration
Appeal: Wild dudes. Yeah...
When I read that this game was better than Final
Fantasy VII, I realized I had to try it. Never listen to a psycho
hardcore RPG fanatic! Wild Arms is pretty good, but it didn't hold
my interest as much as I'd hoped it would. Unlike most other console
RPGs, this had real puzzles in it, which was kind of refreshing.
The open-ended gameplay was a bit confusing, though.
Genre: Worming your way to the top
Appeal: Birds looking for their next meal
Worms is not a very popular game with females
("Ewwwww, gross! Worms!"). However, a lot of guys like me enjoy
it just fine. I had absolutely no idea that worms were such incredibly
violent creatures. If you ask me, using exploding sheep to blow the
worm guts out of your enemy is a really dirty tactic.
X-Men vs. Street Fighter
Genre: "Uh oh, I smell another cheap Capcom crossover."
Appeal: Wolverine and his new buddy, Dhalsim
I, for one, never once wondered what it would
look like if the Street Fighter characters all teamed up against the X-Men
superheroes. Did you? Wait, don't answer that... I don't really
care. A friend of mine rented this, and while it was kind of amusing,
he would have been better off renting a bowl of crap. Ewww, why did
I just write that?
Genre: Xenoriffic XRPG
Appeal: Random battles seem to enjoy this game,
because they play such a large part in it
I have to admit, Xenogears is a very good RPG.
Hardcore RPG nuts will go psycho over it. After all, it's an entertaining,
nice-looking game with a good plot and innovative battles. My only
two real beefs with the game: Too many battles, and too much game!
This thing is #&%* huge! After my game clock reached 35 hours,
I just wanted this to be over! It wasn't...
Genre: "Zis is some delicious Zoop!" Heh
Appeal: You nutty, lazy kids who have free time
up the wazoo
They call this a Playstation game?! It
was nearly the same on Game Boy! Although it may seem a bit antique
(even for a 1995 PSX game), rest assured, it's actually rather addictive.
On the other hand, if you want to get good, you'll have to invest some
actual time in it. Have fun. You've been warned...